How to Become a Game Warden in New Jersey

Game wardens in New Jersey work for the state’s Division of Fish & Wildlife and are known as conservation officers. New Jersey is home to five distinct regional habitatwz of animals and birds. Therefore, the state needs licensed and qualified conservation officers.

New Jersey’s status as a major shipping area combined with its large population leads to additional challenges for the state’s conservation officers. The illegal sale of endangered and threatened species is a perennial problem in the US and particularly in New Jersey. Conservation officers constantly work to thwart the people who carry out these egregious wildlife crimes.

Jobs as conservation officers in New Jersey pose challenges both physically and mentally. Despite these demands, many applicants seek to become conservation officers, so the process to become one is highly competitive.

Understanding the requirements and hiring process gives a competitive edge to applicants. Read on to discover how you can best prepare yourself for the game warden application process in New Jersey.

New Jersey Game Warden Eligibility Requirements

Men and women with an aptitude for law enforcement and a love of the outdoors make ideal candidates for conservation officers with the state of New Jersey. In addition to their work as law enforcement officers enforcing the regulations on hunting and fishing, New Jersey’s conservation officers have a range of additional roles.

These conservation professionals educate the public on the state’s habitats and wildlife and train hunters and anglers to safely engage in these sports. Therefore, conservation officers must be highly skilled at communicating with the public.

Applicants for conservation officer positions must be prepared to effectively showcase the variety of skills and relevant experience they possess. Shown below are the minimum qualifications to be considered as a conservation officer by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Job Qualifications for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

Additional information on the qualifications and hiring process for conservation officers is available at the website of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Eligibility criteria are shown below:

Age: 18 years of age or older is required in New Jersey at the time of academy entrance

Citizenship: Proof of U.S. citizenship or of permanent resident alien status that is eligible for and has applied for citizenship; must be a citizen at time of appointment as well as a resident of New Jersey

License: A valid New Jersey-issued driver’s license is required. Individuals must participate in any driver training as directed by the department

Military Service: Applicants who are former members of the United States military require ‘Under Honorable Conditions’ discharge documentation.

Work Eligibility: New employees must present original documents that establish identity and eligibility for U.S. employment opportunities as per federal law – applicants must be eligible to accept employment before the process continues

Background and Legal History: Candidates should be aware that they are subject to a thorough background investigation and references check before being eligible for hire. Disqualifying elements include:

  • Convicted of a felony in New Jersey or any other state;
  • Charged with a crime of domestic or sexual violence
  • Convicted of any offense which precludes you from carrying a firearm under State or federal law
  • Failed urinalysis drug testing prior to employment

Academic Credentials: High school diploma or GED; A bachelor’s degree in one or more concentrations: biology, environmental science, resource management including 24 semester hour credits in a combination of the following: biology, ecology, fisheries, wildlife or natural resource management AND one year’s experience in any of the following: environmental enforcement activities, environmental science, fisheries science, law enforcement, wildlife science

Peace Officer Training Requirements

Police Training: Through the New Jersey State Police training course or another Police Commission-accredited police academy course

8-week training program includes:

  • Criminal, civil, and court proceedings
  • Search and Seizure
  • Patrol techniques
  • Arrest and Legal Proceedings

Division of Fish & Wildlife Training

44 weeks of Field Training and Evaluation Program through the Fish and Wildlife training is required for the following concepts:

  • Environment specific training
  • Traffic and patrol practices
  • Firearms training
  • Trafficking enforcement
  • Additional specific training

Interview: Candidates will have an in-person panel interview during the later stages of the application process

Medical Condition: The applicant must be examined by a licensed physician to ensure that they are in good health.

Hearing: The applicant must have unaided hearing adequate to perform all the essential duties in the officer role.

Vision: Visual acuity not less than 20/40, corrected to 20/20 in each eye. Normal color vision and ‘excellent’ peripheral field of view is required

Physical Readiness: The applicant must be in sound physical condition and able to swim. Applicants must successfully complete each component of the physical readiness testing.

Psychological Condition: Candidates must have suitable mental health for the responsibilities of the role.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Desired Qualifications

  • Required to carry and use various firearms and weaponry
  • Understand patrol protocol for a variety of transportation methods
  • Professional development or college courses in natural resource management, criminology, psychology, business management or sciences
  • Ability to use word-processing, spreadsheet, database and email software in a networked environment
  • Ability to use proprietary software
  • Mechanical aptitude and logical thinking.
  • Ability to use professional level English grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and composition; reading and comprehension
  • Ability to use foundational math skills including advanced arithmetic, payroll/accounts receivable, and estimation
  • Additional languages are an asset

Salaries for Conservation Officer with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that conservation officers in New Jersey earned the 3rd highest average salary among all game wardens in the country as of 2016.  In fact, at $82,800 ($39.80 hourly) according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the average salary of a conservation officer in the state exceeded the national average among game wardens by more than 50%.

The average salary for experienced conservation officers in the top 25% exceeded the national average in this bracket by 40%.  New Jersey’s conservation officers in this category earned an average salary of $91,700 ($44.10 hourly).


New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402
Phone: (609) 259-2120

School Programs

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Atlantic Cape Community College

5100 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing, NJ 08330-2699
Phone: (609) 625-1111
  • Biology

Bloomfield College

467 Franklin St, Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Phone: (973) 748-9000
  • Biology

Caldwell University

120 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ 07006-6195
Phone: (973) 618-3000
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Centenary College

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Phone: (908) 852-1400
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College of Saint Elizabeth

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Phone: (973) 290-4000
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Drew University

36 Madison Ave, Madison, NJ 07940
Phone: (973) 408-3000
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Essex County College

303 University Ave, Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: (973) 877-3000
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285 Madison Ave, Madison, NJ 07940
Phone: (973) 443-8500
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Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus

1000 River Rd, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Phone: (201) 692-2000
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Felician College

262 S Main St, Lodi, NJ 07644
Phone: (201) 559-6000
  • Biology
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Georgian Court University

900 Lakewood Ave, Lakewood, NJ 08701-2697
Phone: (732) 987-2200
  • Biology
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Kean University

1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ 07083
Phone: (908) 737-5326
  • Biology
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Monmouth University

400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, NJ 07764-1898
Phone: (732) 571-3400
  • Biology
  • Environmental Biology
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Montclair State University

1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07043-1624
Phone: (973) 655-4000
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Biology
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New Jersey City University

2039 Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07305
Phone: (201) 200-2000
  • Biology
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New Jersey Institute of Technology

University Heights, Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: (973) 596-3000
  • Biology

Ocean County College

College Drive, Toms River, NJ 08754-2001
Phone: (732) 255-0400 x2804
  • Security and Protective Services

Princeton University

1 Nassau Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544-0070
Phone: (609) 258-3000
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Ramapo College of New Jersey

505 Ramapo Valley Rd, Mahwah, NJ 07430-1680
Phone: (201) 684-7500 x7500
  • Biology

Raritan Valley Community College

118 Lamington Road, Branchburg, NJ 08876
Phone: (908) 526-1200
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Rider University

2083 Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648-3099
Phone: (609) 896-5000
  • Biology

Rowan College at Gloucester County

1400 Tanyard Road, Sewell, NJ 08080
Phone: (856) 468-5000
  • Biology
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Rowan University

201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ 08028
Phone: (856) 256-4000
  • Biology
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Rutgers University-Camden

406 Penn, Camden, NJ 08102
Phone: (856) 225-6095
  • Biology
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Rutgers University-New Brunswick

83 Somerset St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1281
Phone: (732) 932-1766
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Rutgers University-Newark

249 University Avenue, Blumenthal Hall, Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: (973) 353-1766
  • Biology
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Saint Peter's University

2641 Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07306-5997
Phone: (201) 761-6000
  • Biology
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Salem Community College

460 Hollywood Avenue, Carneys Point, NJ 08069-2799
Phone: (856) 299-2100
  • Biology

Seton Hall University

400 S Orange Ave, South Orange, NJ 07079-2697
Phone: (973) 761-9000
  • Biology
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Stockton University

101 Vera King Farris, Galloway, NJ 08205-9441
Phone: (609) 652-1776
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
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The College of New Jersey

2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ 08628-7718
Phone: (609) 771-1855
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Thomas Edison State College

101 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608-1176
Phone: (609) 984-1100 x2025
  • Security and Protective Services

Union County College

1033 Springfield Ave, Cranford, NJ 07016-1599
Phone: (908) 709-7000
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Warren County Community College

475 Route 57 W, Washington, NJ 07882-4343
Phone: (908) 835-9222
  • Biology
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William Paterson University of New Jersey

300 Pompton Rd, Wayne, NJ 07470
Phone: (973) 720-2000
  • Biology
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